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Whatever you do, don’t think that Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies should simply be lumped in the JRPG category as its influences stem from a more western approach to gaming. Producer Ryutaro Ichimura spoke to Game Informer giving his opinion about the game: “We have no recognition that Dragon Quest IX is a part of the so-called JRPG genre, unless you mean all the RPGs created in Japan are JRPGs.” Interviewer Phil Kollar asked if MMOs were studied when creating DQIX since its mechanics reminded him of that specific genre. Ichimura said: “The quest system was inspired by The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, which I played many times. And I would like to reference Diablo as the title which inspired our thinking about how we can maintain player’s motivations.” Wow, two very different titles to what I would consider inspiration for a franchise steeped in Japanese culture. Dragon Quest IX emphasizes multiplayer and a quest system which is a departure from previous games. A departure that sounds utterly brilliant and after selling over four million units in Japan already, it seems Japanese gamers are happy with the differences.
Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies is released 23rd July on the DS in Europe. I think I may just preorder a copy.